Socks and Jocks

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July 6th 2013
Published: July 13th 2013
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Saturday 6 July


Yes, Andy is wearing long trousers again. This morning he emerged from the trailer wearing long trousers, it really must have been cold. Well it was cold, the morning started very cloudy and kept the sun from warming us up.

Last night was the coldest night we have experienced for a while, I was so cold at one point I was shivering, so had to rely on the warmth from the camp fire and Andy made us both a hot chocolate before bedtime to help keep us warm. We did not go to bed late as it was so cold and we even pulled the roof down to reduce the cabin area and thus hopefully keep the space around us warmer.

All around us we could hear the sound of people packing up getting ready to move on again, but for us we are going to stay another day. We had plans to head the 58 kilometres into Marree to see the camel racing and do the laundry. You know what they say about best laid plans.

The interesting thing about the road from Farina to Marree is that 17 kilometres of it is bitumen and it just seems strange, because it goes back to dirt again before it gets to Marree and back to the bitumen again.

We thought we should just top up with diesel first, there is a huge crowd of vehicles around the fuel station but as we get closer one vehicle catches our eye, it is an Oka. Now you don't see many of those around and the reason why it particularly catches our eye is because our friends Jane and Nigel back in Canberra have an Oka.

Basically Oka was set up to produce specialist mine vehicles by the senior directors of various mining companies, when the company was form they polled as many mining companies as they could to ask them what they would want in a "Specialist mining Vehicle" and they ended up with the 4 wheel drive truck that had a carrying capacity of 3 tonnes.

The company, i believe is still in existence and they produced 450 vehicles in 3 guises, the XT, the LT and now the NT, which we were reliably informed

stood for Xtra Trouble, Less Trouble and No Trouble.

We get chatting to the chap who owns the Oka, and he tells us that it is number 262, our friends is number 79 out of a total of 450 made. Both of them came from Western Australia and this chap has had his for about 12 years, the fuel consumption is about 5.5 kilometres to the litre and says that if you want to travel you have to put up with the fuel consumption and cost.

Just also to point out here that today our fuel was the most expensive we have seen in a while at $1.95, luckily we only had to fill 3/4 of one tank. If we are travelling remotely, we never go past a fuel station without topping up the tanks, even if it would be only to put in 20 litres, you sometimes don't know when the next fuel will be.

Its worth a thought about these prices for fuel and food, it may seem stiff to pay $1.95 for a litre of fuel when in Canberra we would pay $1.51, but look how far they have to get the fuel to these remote locations by road.

Its the same with food, it all has to come out, probably once a week and yet we would moan if it was not fresh, its truly amazing, how out back Australia works.

Once that was done we head back inside and grab a coffee, we see the guy with the Oka and he invites us to sit down and chat with him. We talk for what seems like ages, but time is escaping and we need to get our laundry done.

I ask the lady on the checkout and she tells me the laundry is "across the road". We looked across the road and did not see anything so we had a drive round town, and 5 minutes later we were back at the beginning, so we had to ask for more clarity around the directions. This time we find out that the laundry is in an unmarked shed opposite the caravan park, really we would not have found it otherwise!

There is literally a shed with the 2 doors wedged open and inside there is
Camel CupCamel CupCamel Cup

These cheeky Arabs were here for the camel cup
a row of washing machines and tumble dryers, that must be it, at least we hoped so anyway, so we drove in and parked outside the shed and proceeded to get on with the washing, we hung around while Andy's socks and jocks spun round and nobody grumbled at us to get out of their garage so it must have been ok.

By then we wanted some lunch and went up to the Marree Hotel, we also wanted internet and we could not get a Telstra signal in Marree so figured that we may be able to purchase some time at the Hotel.

We bought a drink and ordered some lunch, Phil told us to speak to his Andy about the internet, so after we had a hearty lunch we were given our internet access details and we set about downloading emails, catching up on social media and above all, uploading the next blog.

We are behind on the blog, but we have been busy having fun and no we don't feel guilty about it but we will catch up very soon.

At some point we lost interest
The LaundretteThe LaundretteThe Laundrette

No Honestly it was!!
in going to the camel racing, the clouds had gone the sun was beating down and heated up the afternoon so we sat, enjoyed the internet time, drank coffee, chatted to some of the locals and generally enjoyed the afternoon lounging around the Marree Hotel and soaking up the atmosphere, there was even a wedding party staying here and we see them all come out in their refinery, the bride was wearing a lovely colourful dress.

Andy spent a while chatting to Phil who we find out owns the hotel. They talk about the history of the place and Tom Kruse, the mailman. Yes I did say Tom Kruse, definitely not the other Tom Cruise, there is a difference in the spelling.

Once again we are heading back to camp, the sun is going down and casts the most amazing colours across this outback landscape. We look across toward Witchelina and think about where we went yesterday, somewhere nestled in amongst the landscape in the distance.

Back at camp, we find that it is as crowded again as it had been every night that we have been here. Clearly a popular spot, it is a little bit noisier tonight than it has been on previous nights, it is funny how the dynamic of a camp spot will change with its occupants. There sounds to be a bit of heavy drinking going on to, so perhaps it won't be noisy for long.

Andy has just made me toast and marmite (the proper marmite that is) for my tea, my fingers are getting cold again so it is time to call it a night.

The sky above is a blanket of stars, how lucky are we?

Well, tomorrow is Sunday and we are giving ourselves a rest day, it has been pretty full on recently and we deserve a rest, so I am not going to type a thing tomorrow!

Until Monday.


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